Debra Brock had been a business analyst, but always wanted to return to farming. So when they moved to Preble, she became a town board member. Along with that, she and her husband, Ken, began to operate a small niche farm where they have recently installed a solar photovoltaic system.
The Brocks began to realize that with rising energy costs they had to make some serious changes to how they were operating their niche farm.
“Last year as were doing our taxes, looking at the length of the winter, the energy costs we encountered, we convinced ourselves over a few cups of coffee that we need to take a look at how we’re spending our money,” Ken said.
So, the Brocks scheduled a home energy audit and had an audit done on their farm as well. The Brocks had three contractors come in and design different plans that would help them save money. The Brocks decided to go with the contractor who built an entirely separate pavilion, which they could later convert to another barn, with solar panels.
“We thought that was a wonderful opportunity for us not only put up solar panels somewhere, but to have a dual purpose for the structure we are putting them on,” Debra said.
The pavilion will become a barn, which will have small stalls for the goats and sheep with their babies during the spring. The new barn will definitely help keep the kids warm and provide space for the Brocks to store their medicines. During the summer, they can use it for equipment and extend the life of their equipment.
“The bottom line for this type of commitment can have make your heart flip a little bit,” Debra said. “But it’s the right thing to do and it will have a great payback. I felt so good when Ken signed his name on that line.”
“It was a great feeling, I was a little surprised,” Ken said. “After we signed the contract to go ahead with the solar, I said to Deb, ‘That felt good.’”